The Cribs @ Gorilla, Manchester, 9 Dec
The Cribs had promised to do things differently when the time came to tour their latest record, and it turns out they weren’t kidding
24-7 Rock Star Shit, The Cribs' seventh LP, had been the stuff of legend amongst the trio’s hardcore faithful for some time, born out of recording sessions with the famously uncompromising Steve Albini and left unfinished and unreleased until this year. It’s a caustic, unrefined punk affair, and accordingly, you could never quite imagine them celebrating it in an arena environment, as they did for the tenth anniversary of Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever at a huge show in Leeds back in May.
Instead, they’ve lined up residencies that take their Cribsmas shows of a decade ago on tour for the first time, visiting sweatboxes around Britain. This is the second night of four at Manchester’s 700-capacity Gorilla, and there’s already indications from their preceding Glasgow run that nothing is off the table in terms of the setlist. Wakefield’s band of brothers genuinely run the gamut in terms of their back catalogue tonight, and despite the fact that smaller rooms usually lend themselves to more raucous atmospheres, there’s a refreshingly balanced pace to proceedings.
For every incendiary golden oldie – I’m Alright Me, with its searingly sarcastic refrain of 'Take drugs, don’t eat, have contempt for those you meet', still soars – there’s a more deliberate deep cut, like a first airing for the ode to fragile masculinity Confident Men in four years. For every time they dig deep for a rabble rousing rarity like Hari Kari, they’ll also spin out something delicate – Dead at the Wheel is a case in point. Ultimately, the show feels more like a retrospective tribute to The Cribs’ anarchic history than to 24-7 Rock Star Shit; a reminder, if it was needed, that there’s just as much vitality in their past as their present.